BY CLAIRE PHILLIPS
I know I know, I’m a bit late with this one. But The Walking Dead just restarted, and I wasn’t totally aware of the fact because I live under a rock. A rock that has internet, but that avoids ads like the plague. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this you have either watched all of Walking Dead including S4 Ep1, or don’t care about spoilers.
SPOILERS LIVE BEYOND THIS LINE OF TEXT.
The Walking Dead’s Season 3 finale was incredibly disappointing for me, mainly because it forgot that finales are supposed to have some sort of climax. Andrea’s death would have been it if I hadn’t stopped caring about the character several
episodes seasons before, and the big clash with the Governor never really went anywhere. That episode ended and I thought that somehow half of the broadcast had gone missing. Not good.
But I’m nothing if not loyal to my TV shows, so Walking Dead lives on in my watch list for now. Season 4′s first episode – 30 Days Without An Accident- gave me a bit of hope for the future.
Daryl’s hair dye find wasn’t the only thing that caught my attention. In the gap between seasons the crew seem to have found a whole heap of useful stuff. There’s a mini farm functioning in the midst of the zombie horde, Rick has acquired an iPod and Herschel has a nifty prosthetic that magically fits him and guarantees that the actor doesn’t have to fake limp everywhere to the expense of the special effects team.
Despite the fortunate acquirement of extremely specific goods I do like the jump in time. It distances this season from the ending of the third and puts the Governor firmly out of mind – great tactics for later I’m sure. It allows Carl to justify his voice breaking, allows Michonne to have sorted out a bit of distance and Daryl to have got his own in-show fan club (Norman Reedus has moved up in the billing too, kill him off at your peril producers).
As far as the actual meat of the episode, there were two main strands to feast on. Rick’s adventure with a loony Irish survivor chick, and a team expedition to an army base that unsurprisingly goes a tad haywire. Rick’s adventure was deemed ‘pointless’ by the person I watched the show with, and whilst I can understand where that point of view might come from, it’s not what was running through my head while I watched the show.
Rick has had a hell of a time over the course of the show and season 3 saw his entire family mutilated before him. Lori died during childbirth, his son lost his humanity and Rick struggled to deal with survival whilst holding his newborn daughter, coping with the knowledge that she too was infected.
Coming across the woman was a stark reminder to Rick of what he could become, and served to remind the audience that not everything is fine and dandy with the man just because some time has passed. I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t show what was underneath the blanket, and the three questions philosophy that the group have adopted plays well with the whole ruling council idea. The group is starting to take on more of the traits of a real community, which can only mean different dynamics and plot lines – excellent.
There were a handful of new characters that got some voice time, amongst them D’Angelo from the Wire who adds to the fact that multiple black actors now seem to be allowed to appear in the show without fear of imminent death. Fresh characters are part of what the show needs to pull some decent punches, so hopefully some interesting backstory’s and character ticks will be revealed to give the newbies some hope of survival – D’Angelo is already dealing with the fact that his alcoholism cost someone his life (presumably), so I’m looking forward to seeing what other issues crop up.
I really expected Tyreese to pick up a hammer at some point in this episode, but that disappointment aside it’s nice that he got some screen time. His character in the comic books is a lot more developed and central than it is so far in the show, so hopefully that balance is finally going to be redressed. Sasha seems to have levelled up to kick ass female warrior chick – hopefully not following in Michonne’s grumpy face footsteps before finding her voice. Another character I want to see more of is Carol. The fact that she’s teaching the kids somewhat deadly survival skills without Rick’s knowledge and that early scene with Daryl seems to hint at her having a greater prominence in this season. *fingers crossed*
Beth seems to have lost her soul but that’s not really something that bothers me. Her character up until now has primarily functioned as emotional baggage for Herschel, a weirdly inappropriate crush for Karl, and someone to sing when the show needs a reflective moment of pathos.
Is Maggie pregnant? Is she going to be soon? Do I want to see another pregnancy in the zombie apocalypse story played out? Maggie and Glenn need something new in their arc and it shouldn’t involve a baby. I forgot Glenn’s name when writing this and the dude’s been in the show AND the comics from the beginning.
Nothing really happened but the new characters and group dynamics should throw up some fresh angles for the show – I’m guessing that the extremely virulent ‘flu thing that killed off one of the new kids is going to kick off next episode. The zombies also seem to be making a comeback and it’s great to see that they are following the comics by making them a little more juicy as time goes on. 30 Days is a solid foundation for a season that I hope can give the show back some of its former glory.
Overall: Cause for hope.
Featured image: Season 4: Rick gets an iPod. Photo: AMC